Netflix’s Fast.com speed test service was initially designed to just measure download speeds, and specifically on Netflix servers at that. Since it launched last year, the site has had over half a billion speed tests performed, the company said. Now, Netflix is expanding the site’s features to make it much more similar to Ookla’s speedtest.net, which is by far the most popular such service. To boot, it has removed the “Compare with Speedtest.net results” link that used to be there after a speed test was performed.
Now, users can view both upload speeds as well as latency. Latency is the time it takes for a packet of data to do a round-trip between a server and the client accessing it. In a way, Fast.com now goes further than speedtest.net, showing users how much data was consumed during the test, something the latter does not do by default.
Netflix peering in India
With these latency measures, incidentally, it becomes much easier for Netflix subscribers in India to see if their ISP has an Open Connect Appliance — a sort of last-mile content server the company uses to manage data load. Since Netflix uses the same servers as its service for fast.com, the speeds are indicative of a device’s quality of connectivity to Netflix. The lower a subscriber’s latency, the higher the probability that their ISP has an OCA, or is peered with an Internet exchange that Netflix is partnered with.
Netflix in India has Open Connect Appliances with Airtel, YOU Broadband, Hathway, Jio, Spectra, and many other ISPs. It’s also peered with the Mumbai Internet Exchange, which claims to be the largest internet exchange in the country.
Netflix’s first original series, Sacred Games, was released this month with a significant TV and billboard advertising spend. Since Netflix doesn’t release viewing data for its titles, it’s not possible to know how successful the show has been. But location-filtered searches for discussions on Twitter that I saw indicate that the show is gaining traction mostly with desi audiences worldwide. This stands in stark comparison to Narcos, which almost immediately became a global hit, even among non-Spanish speaking audiences.
Meanwhile, Netflix has more shows lined up for India — Ghoul starring Radhika Apte comes out next month and quite a few more shows after that. Half of the slated shows have a female lead, and they seem to have much higher production values than shows that air on TV networks. Deepening this niche of high-production-quality serialized content is clearly a key part of Netflix’s content strategy in India.